A Texas middle school principal has been placed on paid leave after she banned the speaking of Spanish by students while in class.
In Hempstead, a town of about 6,000 about 50 miles northwest of Houston, a school district spokeswoman confirmed that Amy Lacey has been placed on leave pending investigation of her Nov. 12 announcement over the intercom at Hempstead Middle School.
More than 50 percent of the school enrollment of about 330 students is Hispanic. KHOU-TV of Houston reports a letter was sent by the district to school parents on December 2 assuring that neither the district nor any campus has any policy banning speaking Spanish.
“People don’t want to speak it no more, and they don’t want to get caught speaking it because they’re going to get in trouble,” sixth-grade student Kiara Lozano told KHOU-TV.
Some students believe the principals' announcement gave a green light to students, teachers and administrators to discriminate.
“There’s one teacher that said, if you speak Spanish in my class, I’m going to write you up,” said eighth-grader Tiffani Resurez to the local TV station.
School district spokeswoman Laurie Bettis said, in a written statement, the district is committed to "embracing all students of all cultural and diverse backgrounds."
“The district has received allegations regarding this issue and the district is investigating the matter," Bettis said. "This is all we can say at this time as there is a pending investigation on this matter."
The Associated Press contributed to this article.